Sarikei Division is one of the eleven administrative divisions in Sarawak, east Malaysia, located on the island of Borneo. Formerly part of the Third Division, which included Sibu and Kapit, Sarikei Division has a total area of 4,332.4 square kilometres, and is the second smallest of the administrative divisions of Sarawak.
The early history of Sarikei can be traced as far back as the early 19th century. There are many historical events to show its existence. For example, Rajah James Brooke first visited Sarikei on 30 April 1845. There were also resistance from the local people towards the Brooke’s administration, including the burning of Sarikei on 4 January 1856 and the Julau Expedition on 19 June 1856, which was led by Sir Charles Brooke to counter the native resistance in Julau.
The establishment of Sarikei as a new Division was mainly based on security consideration. Datu Wilson Baya Dandot, The Deputy State Secretary (Planning and Development) in his article entitled: Sarawak’s Unique Administrative Identity: Establishment of Divisional, District and Sub-District Machinery For Enhancing Development Administration said that the establishment of Sarikei as the Sixth Division then was due to the security threats posed by the communist insurgency which was at its height at that time. It was felt that with the establishment of a new Sarikei Division the government would be able to concentrate and focus more in its efforts to contain and counter the security problem in the area.
The economy of the division is mostly agricultural. Sarikei Division produces more pepper than any other divisions in Sarawak. It is also famous for fruits, especially pineapples and oranges. The timber industry, as elsewhere in Sarawak, is also a major component of the local economy.